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Unpacking the gaps in Vote Compass

by Shari Graydon

When Lloyd Robertson used to intone at the end of every CTV nightly newscast, “And that’s the kind of day it’s been, here at CTV news,” I always wished he would add, “because, based on the dozens of stories we could have covered, and the hundreds of people we could have interviewed, and the thousands of questions we could have asked, these are the stories that a small group of us considered to be the most interesting, important or easiest to tell.”

He never did, of course, but as a longtime media literacy advocate, I’m always delighted to see others encouraging news consumers and voters to think critically about our public discourse and, in particular, pointing out what’s missing from the dialogue we’re having about our democracy.

Elections are a great opportunity to engage in this exercise, and Samara Canada’s Heather Bastedo, who participated in an Informed Opinions workshop last fall, does a good job of doing this in a recent blog post that unpacks aspects of the innovative Vote Compass on CBC’s website. Acknowledging that it’s a “highly engaging and usable tool”, Heather draws attention to a few things that she thinks it might also have fruitfully addressed.

Her post is worth checking out – just like it’s worth asking yourself of every newscast or daily paper: what didn’t make it into this report, what perspectives might have added additional valuable context, and what questions could have been asked instead?